I wrote this piece about the relationship between myself and my best friend Taylor over a decade ago. It is incredibly overwrought and florid and full of teenage pomp and angst. But it was the first thing I wrote for him. He died this past week and I am searching back through all of my digital memories to find small ways to immortalize him. This is for you Taylor. For my twin soul.

Emily O’Donnell

May 25, 2002

Chasing the sun

Twilight was creeping into the west; shades of red and gold fell from the sky to splay fiery patterns on her skin. Outside of her window, the ground rushed past in a blur of ebony concrete. Trees climbed from the ground with gnarled fingertips to grasp at her as she passed them. With a deep breath, smoke curled around her lips to reach up to the clouds that hung low in the darkening sky and mesh with them.

Melodious beats hung in the background of the moment and she turned to the driver of the car, wordlessly studied his features. A shock of dark hair fell over the pale expanse of his forehead and she found her fingers itching to brush it away. His delicate features needed no studying on her part for they were deeply embedded in her mind’s eye that had grown and adapted with his changing over time. She watched him nonetheless, more for the sake of having something of beauty to rest her eyes upon than for any real purpose. She was more familiar with his deep russet eyes than she was with the sight of her own.

His name was Ikari. It meant a multitude of things in various languages, but to this girl, it meant everything that was life, beauty and a deep abiding love that was much stronger than any physical emotion. She had given him this name a long time ago with the most careful of thoughts.

Her own pale features were illuminated in the shifting light that splayed upon dark eyes and hair that glinted various hues. She remained very quiet, yet seemed to be constantly on the verge of saying something. She did not speak first, for there was no need to utter words when everything they needed to know was known there, in the space between the two of them. Her name was Raven, and at the moment she felt as though she were flying away.

She sank into her seat and closed her eyes against the bright rays of sunlight. As soon as she turned away from him, she felt his eyes follow her briefly before returning to the road. His mind was heavy with thoughts that were barely formed, and she was aware of each and every one. There was something here; in the air between them, so thickly charged with electric sparks of their shared energy.

“There is something in the way we communicate,” he said. She blinked her questioning eyes open, and wondered if he had actually spoken aloud.

“Maybe,” his dark eyes were gleaming as he spoke, “It is the exchange of beauty between us. The flow of energy that transpires.”

Her train of thought picked up immediately on his with the carelessness of taking a single breath. “Maybe we see things the way we do because of this inherent flow of energy. It communicates to us the things that we love and pulls away from us, the things that we fear.” Her thoughts dwelled upon this for a moment and she could hear him breathe in as she exhaled the cloud of her emotions and they were perfectly in tune with one another.

He spoke again with a thoughtful tone, “Maybe, its because we’re so receptive to one another, that we’re so closed off from everyone else,” he was not sure if the statement was a question but she knew that it could be either or none at all. He shrugged with a careless gesture, “we’re not like them.”

She watched him exhale a cloud of smoke, and thought that perhaps she could read their future in the wisps that swirled around her fingertips. She nodded slowly and looked to meet his eyes, “No, no we’re not.”

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m arrogant for thinking that I’m better than them.” She paused and struggled over her words for a minute, “Not even thinking that I’m better, just… more mature? Wiser? But then I think that wisdom can only come to one who does not think that they are wise. I know I’m smart and I just cannot stand how incredibly foolish they’re being.” She was of course, referencing other friends whom she had not spent time with in a good while, and for very good reason.

“All they know how to do anymore is whine about their lives,” he shook his head. “I can’t take it because I know that I used to be like that myself, and I know above anyone else that they can get themselves out of it if they try hard enough, the problem is that they don’t. At all.”

“Yeah, I was more like them too, before . . .” She paused and her eyes narrowed in introspection and she didn’t need to finish her sentence before he did it for her. “Before I met you.”

Her eyes were bright with the sparkle of energy and she nodded with a vague smile. “Yeah. When I met you, my entire perspective on the world changed.”

“Since I met you I think my entire world has changed.”

She chuckled, a low sound reverberating in the back of her throat. “That too.” She drummed her fingers along the dashboard of his car in time to the beat of the song. “I think we must balance one another out too well, everything is the same and yet, opposite, about us.” Her thoughts were drifting inwardly and it was as if the lines of energy connecting them were becoming visible before her eyes. As she brought the pipe away from her lips, a swirl of smoke followed and in its path, Raven could see the traces of white smoke clinging to the straight lines of a grid. The gridlines interlocked around her flesh and stretched out as far as the eye could see in the distance.

“There is a level of completeness a soul can reach in a lifetime,” she spoke without even being aware that her lips moved. “I read once in my sister’s book of shadows about such a thing called ‘twin souls,’ two souls that were one in a previous lifetime, split apart to form different people. It is said that these souls spend their lives searching to get back to one another so they can be complete once more and whole again.”

Silvery blue threads of a gossamer nature were spiraling from her fingertips and connecting with the vibrant red of her friend’s aura. His own lines of energy reached out for her and somewhere in between, they meshed so deeply within the silver grid that nothing could be seen but a brilliant violet hue that cascaded down upon them and imbued the essence of their nature with a calming wave of energy.

“Do you think that is what we are?” His question was so calm and simple in the midst of the wonderful things around her that she wanted to weep or laugh for joy.

“I think that there are very few things that could explain what you and I are,” she was caught between one thought and the next and she felt as though wisdom was something that she had always been holding in the palm of her hand but had never known its name until now.

“I think that we just are,” he spoke through a smile. “We’re us and I don’t know if many people understand that.” Their thoughts then were tangled within the head of the other and contemplating this fact brought even more extraordinary thoughts to Raven’s mind.

“Sometimes I wonder if you hear what I’m thinking,” dark hair brushed against the glass of the window like feathered wings, fluttering to escape such a confined space. “Or if perhaps its not so much as hearing one another’s thoughts, but having such a close mind that we just happen to have the same thoughts at the same time?” Her fingertips idly played at the strands of energy that had twined about her flesh and a remote part of her brain was fascinated by this illusion she had created for herself.

She chuckled suddenly, struck by an odd sense of amusement and she turned to find him speaking. “Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could develop mental communication so much that we could like, talk in school or while I’m at work or something?” He laughed, a deep and low sound that chimed upon several chords of energy and they rang with the reverberations in an odd melody.

She laughed with him for a few moments, something in her was continually surprised by the amount of joy he could bring into her grasp without even trying. “That would be pretty interesting,” she commented. “That way we wouldn’t even have need for phones or the computer anymore.”

A new thought entered her brain and she could feel a shiver go sliding down her spine in exhilaration. There was something about conversations like this that affected her deeply; moments like this were what she considered something close to perfection in her life.

“I know that I’m receptive to energy,” as if to prove her point, the threads around her tightened their grip before slowly slipping away, leaving her calm.

“I know that I’m receptive to you, like, I’m aware of you wherever you are and if I focus enough on you then I can read your energy, sense your presence and feel the forefront of your emotions.” Her dark eyes were gleaming with the reflection of the knowledge she concealed within.

“Whenever you’re upset, all I know how to do is just push all of my good energy into you and hope it helps. That’s all I really know how to do for anyone. I’ve been told sometimes that I have been able to heal minor pains, mental or physical, of certain people but I have no faith in any ability I may have as a healer.” Her train of thought changed abruptly and she could feel her mood sobering. New thoughts seem to cascade over her in a wave and she struggled to pick just one out of the multitude.

She shook her head and brushed dark hair out of her eyes to look up at him through lowered lashes. “What the hell am I going to do without you next year?”

His lips quirked between a smile and a frown and she watched his forehead crease in a familiar way as he thought. “Have a life?”

“You’re funny,” she made a face at him and scowled.

“I know.” He grinned and shrugged. “We’ll manage, you know that. There are things now called the Internet and you can always visit me on the weekends.”

“I know,” she sighed. “It won’t be the same.”

“Things are never the same,” he reminded her. “Think about what our lives were like one year ago at this time compared to right now.” His mood seemed to suddenly take a turn to match her own. “I know that I’ll always have you, whether we don’t see each other for awhile or not. There’s nothing that would make me stop being your friend.”

She was quiet for a long time in introspection. The energy that coursed through her veins faded from such a strong emotion to a lasting sense of peace.

“I don’t know why I haven’t written us a story yet,” she told him.

He looked confused for a minute and she smiled tightly, “Listen to the conversations we have. I could probably write an entire book just out of our dialogue. But I just wish I knew if I had talent enough to portray the beauty of things like this.”

He scoffed at her words and she smiled. “Yeah, I think I should try.”

The two of them smiled and Raven laid her hands upon the thick braid of energy that maintained the core of the nexus between them. A hundred emotions were at constant battle within her at once but she found that she could maintain a sense of calm and peace that had sprung from something hidden inside. She had unlocked this secret with moments like this.

She knew that this was only one moment in a hundred that were all similar. She knew that she was complete and at peace and at that moment, nothing seemed to big an obstacle for them to overcome, except for the future.


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